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Montevideo, September 18th 2018 - 17:40 UTC

Gibraltar in shock: it will mobilize all its options to counter any EU exclusion

Thursday, March 1st 2018 - 10:13 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Clause 24 purports to give Spain a veto on the application to Gibraltar of the transitional period and of the future UK- EU relationship agreement. Clause 24 purports to give Spain a veto on the application to Gibraltar of the transitional period and of the future UK- EU relationship agreement.
The Rock will mobilize all options if any attempt is made to activate the Clause and exclude Gibraltar, whatever the consequences for the wider Brexit progress The Rock will mobilize all options if any attempt is made to activate the Clause and exclude Gibraltar, whatever the consequences for the wider Brexit progress

The Government of Gibraltar has stated that it is not surprised by the reference to Clause 24 in a footnote to the draft legal text on the Withdrawal Agreement published by the European Union27 on Wednesday. However, it nonetheless constitutes a disgraceful affront to a small British country that voted by 96% to remain in the European Union.

The footnote says the following:

“It is recalled that the territorial scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, including as regards the transition period, should fully respect paragraphs 4 and 24 of the European Council guidelines of 29 April 2017, notably as regards Gibraltar.”

Clause 24 purports to give Spain a veto on the application to Gibraltar of the transitional period and of the future UK- EU relationship agreement.

The text is only a draft at this stage and it represents the views of the European Union and not the view of the United Kingdom, still less of the Government of Gibraltar. Indeed, it will be recalled that the Prime Minister herself has told the House of Commons that both the transitional period and the future relationship agreement will include Gibraltar.

The Gibraltar Government will also strongly urge its many friends in the United Kingdom Parliament, across all the political parties, who would have to approve the Withdrawal Agreement, not to do so unless Gibraltar is included.

The Government considers that, by its very definition, transition is a continuation of the existing European Union legal order. This legal order includes the application of the relevant treaties to Gibraltar. Therefore the exclusion of Gibraltar would run contrary to the established policy of the EU27 itself in this regard. It would mark a degree of political and legal discrimination against a small territory which is unknown in modern European history.

It should also be made clear that the Government will mobilize all options available if any attempt is made to activate the Clause and exclude Gibraltar, whatever the consequences might be for the wider progress of Brexit. The Government has already taken detailed legal advice from the top lawyers in the United Kingdom.

Moreover, the truth is that nobody stands to gain anything at all by excluding Gibraltar from the transition or from the future relationship agreement.

All that Spain will accomplish, with the complicity of the other Member States, is to generate uncertainty among many thousands of ordinary citizens and their families who live on both sides of the border. There are over 13,000 people who live in Spain and who work in Gibraltar. This includes some 8000 Spanish nationals but it also includes citizens of every other Member State of the European Union. It makes no sense whatsoever for Spain to seek to exclude them from the acquired rights they would otherwise have under the transition period.

The existing threatening language of vetoes and exclusions is an unnecessary provocation in what is already a tense environment as the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union. It is in the interests of both Gibraltar and Spain that there should be a sensible Brexit going forward which put the interests of citizens and businesses in this area first.

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • Capt Rockhopper

    Oh well I guess unemployment is going to rise substantially on 20 March 2019 when the border is closed if Spain uses a veto given to them by the Fourth Reich, sorry the EU.

    Mar 01st, 2018 - 03:10 pm +3
  • Brit Bob

    The Spanish have this problem with Gibraltar's airport believing that it was built on land stolen from Spain.

    Mr Dastis repeated Spain’s traditional position on the isthmus, insisting that Spain “has a claim” on the area of land on which the airport is built. (Gibraltar Chronicle 25 Feb 18).

    Gibraltar Isthmus – Acquisitive Prescription (1 pg):-
    https://www.academia.edu/35658479/Gibraltar_Isthmus_Acquisitive_Prescription

    Mar 01st, 2018 - 10:37 am +2
  • Conqueror

    @Brit Bob

    I fail to see how Spain can have “a claim”. Spain has been invited on many occasions, both by the United Kingdom and by the Government of Gibraltar, to take its “claim” to the ICJ. It has never taken up that option because, unsurprisingly, Spain is no different to argieland in being dictatorial, overbearing and prone to wishful thinking. As well as lying. I'm sure that I recall it being reported on one occasion that Spain doesn't dare go to the ICJ because there are documents, possibly in its own National Archive, that proves that it has no “claim”. And that various Spanish governments have been advised by their own lawyers that they have no chance.

    I sometimes wonder why Gibraltar and the UK don't put it to the test. I know that there is an article in the treaty whereby, if Britain relinquishes sovereignty, it is supposed to be offered first to Spain. But I wonder how the ICJ would react if Gibraltar were to declare independence, the UK acceded and then Spain tried to step in to claim sovereignty. Surely it would be a major contravention of the basic principles of the United Nations? Mind you, with the lack of action by the United Nations in support of Catalonia, nothing would completely surprise me. Prima facie, Spain constantly breaches various parts of the UN Charter and nobody says anything meaningful.

    Mar 01st, 2018 - 11:27 am +2
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